Unified communication is the technological integration of communication from a variety of access points, software and platforms. It streamlines the flow of real-time interaction across an organization. From instant messaging to file sharing, it removes barriers of time zone, location and device type.
Having a unified communication tool will put communication solutions at employees’ fingertips from anywhere at any time. The need for travel is reduced, due to increased remote access for virtual team members and guests. By promoting internal and external connections anywhere at anytime, the goal should be towards productivity and efficiency for all. The greater the productivity and ability for clearer communication and sharing, the more motivated employees will be.
What about security? IT departments can better manage data flow and usage. The access parameters set will run across all integrated applications with the hope that future integrations or additions would be met with ease. It turns communication into an enterprise system. That system can lower administrative costs and the strain on team resources.
What should you look for in a unified communication tool?
- Improved user experience. Every employee is different. How they interact with tools is determined by their flexibility, comfort and knowledge. Understand how your employees are currently communicating, meeting and engaging with each other. Find opportunities to improve the experience. Provide solutions and support to get them on board to change company culture in breaking down barriers. Recently, one of our staff members at Ubiq participated in a Twitter chat with users and IT professionals, and they were mentioning that if their unified communication tool is not easy enough for the users to use it, they won’t use it. However, they mentioned that it takes up to 3 months for users to understand how to use it and adopt the product.
- Greater accessibility and collaboration. Your employees may be far and wide. They need a central point to come together to share ideas and create dialogue. A unified communication tool creates new means to gather information from a mix of traditional and non-traditional ways. From the twitter chat, it was obvious that instant messaging, email and presentation tools were key aspects for a unified communication tool to increase collaboration.
- Data shareability. With technology, communication becomes data. That data needs to be processed…to go somewhere! How ideas are exchanged rely on data sharing. A unified communication tool will enhance collaboration by sharing files, screens and other information more readily. The optimal tool will not require a waiting period for analysis. It’s work that employees can now do together.
- Seamless integration. By integrating existing applications into a centralized system, it is important to not impact current workflows. Communication is very important to the success of a business. It should not be disturbed. It should be enhanced! Users care if the tools are easy to use and can be accessed all in one place, and your IT Department cares about one-time setup and putting less work for them after the integration.
As more business is being conducted in the cloud, communication needs to be seamless. Not only should it break down silos across departments, it should be open to the many touch points employees have to each other: phone, email, instant message, video, social media, etc. The way we speak and share with each other at work has changed. Unified communication tools will help take our interactions to the next level with ease from any place.